POSTED: July 11th 2015

Fifth annual 'Artistry on Ice' showcases rising excitement for Beijing 2022

This year's Artistry on Ice played to sold-out crowds at Beijing's Wukesong Centre © Beijing 2022
This year's Artistry on Ice played to sold-out crowds at Beijing's Wukesong Centre © Beijing 2022

Chen Penbin at this year’s Artistry on Ice © Beijing 2022
Chen Penbin at this year’s Artistry on Ice © Beijing 2022

Shen Xue with her daughter at this year’s Artistry on Ice © Beijing 2022
Shen Xue with her daughter at this year’s Artistry on Ice © Beijing 2022

MARISSA FLANDERS (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Friday evening, the Wukesong Sports Centre hosted the fifth annual "Artistry on Ice" figure skating festival. The festival featured many world-class figure skaters including Beijing 2022 Bid Ambassadors, Shen Xue, and Zhao Hongbo; Russia's Olympic champion, Adelina Sotnikova; and crowd favorite known as "Lady Gaga on Ice" United States skater, Johnny Weir, among various other skaters. This event is just the latest in a growing number of public events that are dedicated to enhancing the wide-spread public support for Beijing's bid to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The celebrations have been popping up in Beijing, Zhangjiakou, and all over China as the 2022 Host City Election is closing in.

The crowds enjoyed watching these global all-star figure skaters perform their classic numbers. United States Olympic champion team Charlie White and Meryl Davis performed their hit number of "Say Something." The packed crowd was also wowed by Swiss Olympic medalist Stephane Lambiel doing his world-famous spins. Canadian legend and referred in China as "little clown," Kurt Browning also made an appearance. Also recent Men's singles World Champion, Javier Fernandez delivered his hilarious and class number "Aerobic Class," which was also performed at the Sochi Olympic Games Closing Ceremony. Fernandez had his Chinese fans mimicking his work-outs.

The figure skaters were also joined by China's own Forrest Gump, Chen Penbin. He made a pledge to run 100 marathons in support of Beijing 2022's bid. Over the past 100 days, Chen Penbin has been fulfilling that promise and his final stop was the festival. Once he entered the arena, he passed a letter with signatures of runners who he met along his 100-day journal that wished Beijing 2022 good fortune. Chen gave them to Zhang Jiandong, Vice Mayor of Beijing and Vice President of Beijing 2022 Bid Committee.

"Having spent the past 100 days running across this country in support of Beijing 2022, I have witnessed firsthand the widespread excitement behind the bid that is felt not just in Beijing and Zhangjiakou, but all the way south to Shanghai, Guangzhou and the countless cities and villages in between!," expressed Chen to the packed center.

In addition, this festival for the past five years has been a labor of love for the organizers, which include the Chinese Skating Association and the two key members, Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo. They achieved the feat of being the first Chinese figure skaters to win Olympic gold for China. They also share a personally significant relationship with the event. Once winning gold at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Shen and Zhao tied the knot at the inaugural "Artistry on Ice" event and turned it into a "Wedding on Ice."

This year marked another personally significant event as the couple's child; Xiao Xiao Xue was old enough to join in on the fun for the first time. She joined some other small children who were selected to participate in the event from a video contest held on Chinese social media.  

"Seeing the happiness that figure skating has brought my own child, as well as all of the other little friends out here tonight," Shen continued saying, "gives me hope that we can use Artistry on Ice festival as a channel to spread the magic of ice sports across China, just as we have the past year with the Beijing 2022 bid."

Deputy Secretary-General of Beijing 2022 Bid Committee and former head of Winter Sports at the General Administration of Sport of China, Zhao Yinggang stated, "Provided China's winter sports fans with a glimpse of a top-tier international event whose exciting atmosphere matches the buzz Beijing is currently experiencing as the city bids for a Winter Olympics."

He added, "Figure Skating is one of the most popular events in the Winter Olympics, and it enjoys many fans all over the world. Given the popularity and development of Artistry On Ice has seen all over China, we can all expect a magnificent sight to behold at [Beijing 2022 figure skating venue] Capital Indoor Stadium should the Winter Olympics be awarded to Beijing!"

The performance held on Friday night was only one stop on the "Artistry on Ice" circuit, which kicked off on July 8th at Taipei. It will continue to go to Shanghai on July 11th and end its four-city tour on July 12th in Shenzhen.

** MARISSA FLANDERS is a graduate of Saint Leo University with a Bachelor's Degree in Sport Business. She has over four years of writing experience and has a real passion for ice hockey following the Pittsburgh Penguins on her blog

Keywords · Beijing 2022 · Olympic · Olympic bidding · figure skating

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